An engagement ring is a deeply meaningful symbol you’ll wear on your finger forever. That’s why it’s really important that it represents your personal style — and also your values.
Here’s the thing: While diamonds may be beautiful, their ecological impact is pretty concerning. The mining process for a traditional diamond involves widespread logging, soil removal, and unsafe working conditions for the people involved.
The good news? There are tons of options for diamonds that are made in a more sustainable way! Data shows that young people care a lot about the environment — a 2018 Nielsen survey found that 75% of millennials are changing their habits to reduce their environmental footprint. Plus, the U.S. sustainability market is expected to reach $150 billion by 2021.
If you’re intrigued by the idea of getting a sustainable or non-traditional ring, here’s where to start looking.
- Buy vintage. On your wedding day, your “something old” can be your ring! Research vintage jewelry retailers in your area and check out their selection. Even if the style of the band looks super dated, you can get the diamond reset into a brand new piece.
- Repurpose a family piece. This is just like shopping vintage, only your jewelry has a personal connection. Did your grandmother have a diamond ring you loved? What about a diamond necklace? You’ll want family permission to update it, of course — but once everyone is comfortable, you can add your own personal touches.
- Do your research on companies. Plenty of companies purport to sell “conflict-free” jewelry. That’s all well and good, but you want to make sure you’re shopping from a reputable brand who practices what they preach. Ask lots of questions about their supply chain, and don’t stop until you get the answers you need.
- Consider a lab-grown diamond. Scientists can literally create diamonds these days. How weird and cool is that? While a lab-grown diamond may not feel as “authentic” as a mined stone, it’s truly the exact same thing. They’re both made of carbon, formed with heat and pressure, and impossible to tell apart. Plus, you’ve bought it with the planet in mind, and that’s a pretty cool story to tell.